* Operating EPS C$0.51 vs est C$0.48
* Insurer takes C$225 mln charge related to lawsuit
* Stock retreats 2.4 percent
(Adds details, updates shares to close) TORONTO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO), Canada's No. 2 insurer, said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit fell 38 percent as it took a C$225 million provision related to a class-action lawsuit.
Shares of the Winnipeg-based company, which have risen steadily since the end September, retraced some of those gains on the result.
Great-West earned a net C$275 million, or 29 Canadian cents a share, down from C$445 million, or 47 Canadian cents a share, in the year-before period.
Operating profit rose to C$479 million, or 51 Canadian cents a share, Great-West said.
Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 48 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Premiums and deposits rose to C$14.4 billion from C$13.6 billion a year earlier.
An Ontario Superior Court said in an Oct. 1 decision that the company must pay C$456 million for breaches of the Insurance Companies Act in financing the 1997 takeover of London Insurance Group, the parent of London Life.
Great-West said it has appealed the ruling and established an incremental provision of C$225 million in the third quarter.
The company sells insurance and investment products under the Great-West, Canada Life, London Life and Putnam Investments banners. It is 72 percent owned by Montreal holding company Power Financial (PWF.TO), which is controlled by Montreal's Desmarais family.
Great-West stock fell 2.4 percent, or 65 Canadian cents, to C$26.41 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Janet Guttsman)